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Hit Belgian Series 'Team Chocolate' to Get British Adaptation


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Canadian/British producers Reel One and UK theater troupe Chickenshed will adapt the series, about a young man with Down syndrome who travels across Europe to reunite with the love of his life.

Canadian/British Group Reel One Entertainment are teaming with UK theater company Chickenshed to adapt the award-winning Belgium TV series Team Chocolate for British TV.

The Belgium show, which launched to ratings success and critical acclaim on Belgium public broadcaster VRT last year, follows Jasper Vloemans (Jelle Palmaerts), a young man with Down syndrome, who starts his first job in a family-run chocolate factory. He soon falls in love with one of his colleagues: Tina, a girl from Kosovo. But when Tina is suddenly deported to her home country, Jasper and his friends set out on a road trip across Europe to find her.

The feel-good Flemish-language dramedy picked up the best drama series at the first Diversity TV Excellence Awards at international television market Mipcom in October and won the 2017 Prix Europa for best European Fiction Series.

The series was the result of a unique collaboration between Belgian TV production company De Mensen, whose credits include hit crime drama Salamander and upcoming Netflix series Undercover, and Theater Stap, a Flanders-based theater company that works with disabled actors. Actors from the company play many of the lead roles in the show.

Reel One, who picked up series adaptation rights from Wild Bunch TV, plans to recreate that collaboration with Chickenshed, an inclusive theater company based in Southgate, London. Reel One is pitching Team Chocolate to UK networks and is in talks to attach a British writer to the project.

Broadcasters in the UK are under pressure to increase the representation of physically and mentally disabled people on screen. According to last year's Project Diamond survey of major broadcasters, people with disabilities are one of the most under-represented groups on TV, making up just 6.5 percent of on screen and 5.5 percent of behind-the-camera talent while making up 18 percent of the national population of Great Britain.

Reel One, based in Montreal with offices in LA, London and Vancouver, is expanding into serial production, recently hiring producer Adam Fratto (Cleverman) as new senior vice president of TV series and naming former Channel 4 executive Dominic Schreiber its global drama executive. Reel One is currently developing a series of crime procedurals as well as a sci-fi series based on the Philip K. Dick novella Second Variety.

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